Gain new insights with advanced telecommunications industry solutions

Industry Marketing Manager - Communications, IBM

As you read this posting, focus on two measures: one in six and 12 percent. The 2014 Global Telecom Consumer Survey by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) concluded that only one of six customers are advocates of their communications service provider (CSP) and just 12 percent strongly agree that their provider listens to them and collects the right amount of information to meet their communication needs.

Despite rolling out numerous initiatives to drive customer centricity in the organization, service providers as a group ranked near the bottom in most customer satisfaction surveys, including those that track Net Promoter Score (NPS). Matthew Twomey covered this issue very well in a recent blog posting.

What’s missing? Consider the first issue—low customer satisfaction, which is reflected by a poor NPS. CSPs often do not have the tools to correlate the results from an NPS survey with subscriber’s actual experiences with the network as they use various services. These services include voice calls, short message service (SMS), broadband download and upload speeds and performance for various mobile apps including Facebook, Skype, Spotify, YouTube and so on.

Without this correlation, service providers can’t identify the root cause of a poor NPS survey rating. Common root causes include dropped calls, poor voice call quality, SMS failures and poor music or video-streaming quality. As providers can't identify specific root causes leading to poor NPS, they can’t fix the problem for customers, either for those who took the survey or any other customer that may be affected by the problem.

A second issue relates to service providers being unable to collect the right information about customers and using it to meet their customers’ communication needs. Consumer privacy is often provided as a reason for this problem; although, many consumers are not averse to sharing their personal information as long as they understand how it will be stored and used. For example, in a recent survey, a significant number of consumers said they would happily share personal information in exchange for personalized offers from a trusted company.

CSPs have tools to analyze voice and SMS usage to understand customer needs; however, they typically do not have the tools to analyze usage of smartphone apps. IBM recently announced two advanced industry solutions for the telecommunications industry to help meet these business needs:

  • IBM Customer Experience Analytics for CSPs: This offering includes advanced analytics to help measure and improve the customer experience with the network. It provides analysis of customer network activity across locations, devices and apps.
  • IBM Behavior-Based Customer Insight for CSPs: This solution includes advanced and predictive analytics of customer activity across locations, devices, applications and interests to help drive improved marketing and customer care performance.

Customer Experience Analytics for CSPs analyzes all the network activity generated by subscribers’ usage of various services such as Voice, SMS, mobile search and Smartphone Apps and across devices and locations to measure the quality of the experience. It answers several questions to gain insight into the customer experience:

  • How many dropped calls or failed SMSs were experienced during the last week?
  • Was that number more or less than the number from previous weeks?
  • How was the quality of music or video streaming?
  • How was the quality of web browsing?
  • How was the experience for other customers in the same geographic area using a similar or different smartphone or tablet device?
  • Has the experience improved or worsened, compared to previous weeks or months?
  • Is the quality of service varying depending on the time of the day or week, or around specific events such as a marathon, a festival or an election day?

Armed with this information, service providers can optimize the customer experience across voice and data services by means of a customer experience scoring mechanism. They can see a 360-degree view of the customer experience with the network and identify problems that lead to poor customer satisfaction, low NPS and eventual churn.

Behavior-Based Customer Insight for CSPs provides a two-part value proposition for a communications service provider: correlating NPS with the customer experience and understanding customer needs and preferences.

Correlate NPS and customer experience 

NPS is an excellent indicator of future revenue and profits. It is based on a survey conducted with a sample or subset of the customer base, and it is therefore very difficult to relate a subjective score from a survey to the daily job of running the network. Behavior-Based Customer Insight for CSPs addresses this issue by linking various data sources to build the profiles of a typical promoter and detractor from the survey results. It then infers those profiles across the customer base to gauge NPS for all customers based on similar experiences.

The solution combines all data sets such as 2G, 3G and 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) data; NPS survey results; cell data; customer relationship management (CRM) data; and device provisioning to create a single subscriber analytics record for each subscriber. It then employs predictive models to correlate subscriber analytics records to identify and address root causes for poor NPS results.

Improve understanding of customer needs and preferences

Behavior-Based Customer Insight for CSPs analyzes subscriber usage to understand interests and preferences. The solution analyzes how much time subscribers spend using their devices to browse, search, read and stream information. Subscribers are categorized into hundreds of micro-segments—for example, suburban, dual-income affluent sports fan interested in golf, football and soccer—based on this analysis, which in turn drives targeted marketing offers for new services, upgrade and add-on offers. Offers for new services may include mobile streaming for  an upcoming golf tournament such as the PGA Masters, football game series such as NFL Sunday or an international soccer tournament, such as the World Cup. Upgrade offers include prepaid-to-postpaid conversation offers as well as upgrades from 2G to 3G or 3G to 4G LTE. Others may include offers for add-ons such as voice or data roaming or unlimited WhatsApp, Viber or Facebook usage, and retention tactics.


Out-of-the-box solutions for faster time to value

Both solutions are pre-integrated, tested and designed for rapid results with a short deployment time. They are delivered with predefined industry data models, use case specific metrics, out-of-the-box interactive dashboards and application programming interfaces (APIs) for integrating predictive insights into the core business processes and infrastructure.

Understanding customer experience across all services, devices, apps and locations with these new industry solutions can empower CSPs to deliver proactive care and reap hundreds of millions of dollars in business benefits. Learn more about it in a recent blog posting from Rich Lanahan, and find out more about these exciting industry solutions.